Nao Bustamante: Silver and Gold

Nao Bustamante: Silver and Gold

EMPAC, Studio 1

October 20, 2010 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM

Reception to follow performance.

Photo Credit: Eleanor Goldsmith

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Nao Bustamante's often precarious work encompasses performance art, sculpture, installation and video. Stirred by legendary filmmaker Jack Smith, Bustamante interprets Smith's muse: 1940s Dominican movie starlet Maria Montez. Honing-in on Smith's interest in Hollywood's obsession with the reproduction of the exotic, Bustamante will embody Miss Montez. Using video as backdrop, and back-story, she takes the spectator on a bizarre journey discovering a new bejeweled body part, which is at once her curse and oracle. The new performance is the fruit of a commission by the LIVE FILM/ Jack Smith festival, co-organized by Arsenal Institute for Film and Video Art and Hebbel-am-Ufer Theater (HAU) in Berlin and was presented at Sundance Film Festival in January, 2010.

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Silver & Gold combines film, live performance, and original costumes into a self-proclaimed "filmformance" in which Ms. Bustamante evokes the muse of legendary filmmaker Jack Smith and his tribute to 1940s Dominican movie starlet Maria Montez in a magical and joyfully twisted exploration of race, glamour, sexuality, and the silver screen. In this performance event she alternates between action and live narration of an eight minute film projection.

We begin our story with Maria rising to start her day of idealized and utopist labor: gathering the lilacs at the top of the season. She is solitary, yet divinely connected to nature. During her impossibly lovely work routine, she comes across a shimmering presence. It is a cheap mannequin with a sequin costume, but Maria sees a magical friend, which exuberantly takes her over and releases her from her diaphanous gown and transforms her into the queen of all her realm. At first Maria is willing to share her realm with the figure, but then discards it, as she steps into her new role of power. But this role comes with a hitch, as Maria discovers to her horror that she has acquired a penis along with the new costume and role. She hears a strange buzzing and discovers she is being chased by a swarm of penises! After a furtive chase she is knocked out cold, when she stumbles and hits her head on a rock by the creek. Lying in a state of unconsciousness, her penis turns into a pink, sparkling and talking oracle. He reassures her that her greatest curse is also her greatest blessing. The short film has a live overdub and is followed by a live show, which includes a raucous dance ala Arabian Nights, a death scene and Maria ultimately trying to sell the audience silver and gold from the afterlife.


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